“Alfa Romeo is a particular way of living, of experiencing an automobile. The real essence of Alfa defies description. It can be compared to those irrational movements of the spirit that sometimes occur in man, and for which there is no logical explanation. We are in the realm of sensations, passions, things that have more to do with the heart than with the head.”
‘So spoke Orazio Satta Puliga, the Italian car firm’s head of design in 1946, as Italy tremblingly attempted to pull itself out of the disaster of World War 2.
‘Behind where my father lived in Notting Hill in London, there was an Alfa Romeo dealership. I only had to look out of his window to see an ever-changing array of fabulous vehicles – mainly Spiders, I now realize.
‘My dad would tell me how his best friend had had a 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Stepnose in that mustard color that seems to so fit that classic model. Together they would cruise in it, going out to have a good time, hopefully to find some interesting new girlfriends.
‘There is no shortage of seductive Alfa Romeos – sometimes it seems it’s all contained within that second name – and of late they have been very much on my mind. At Beverly Hills Car Club the other day I acquired a fabulous, mint condition 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale. It is a really gorgeous car, in an exciting color combination of red with a blue interior.
‘The vehicle comes equipped with a manual transmission, dual Weber carburetors, windscreen deflector, chrome bumpers, chrome exhaust tip, steel wheels, Alfa Romeo hub caps, and spare tire.
‘And we are proud to offer this Alfa Sprint Speciale to any enthusiast or collector who appreciates this great marque. It is an extremely sought-after Alfa Romeo that is mechanically sound. That should hardly be surprising: the gentleman I bought it from had had his own Alfa Romeo dealership, with every car-care facility always available to him.
‘The legend started in 1910 when Ugo Stella acquired shares of an Italian plant of a French car maker Societa Italiana Automobili Darra. Although cars were first made in Naples, the factory was later moved to Portella, close to Milan. In 1915 the factory changed its name to ALFA, which was short for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili which translates as Lombardian Car Factory.
‘As World War I was erupting, the banks entrusted company management to Naples entrepreneur Nicola Romeo. During the war, the company’s factory produced compressors, ammunition, aircraft engines. When automotive production resumed, the company was renamed Alfa Romeo and the logo updated accordingly.
‘But it took another war, World War 2, for Alfa Romeo to transition from big luxury cars to 4 cly sports cars.
‘The romance of the Alfa Romeo brand name has truly endured, showing the world that great design can be so eloquently expressed in a modest city car. When the Giulietta was introduced in 1954, designed for Bertone by Giorgetto Giugiaro, it set the template: through the Giulietta Alfa Romeo established the ‘small car, big performance’ formula, which characterized top models moving forward.
‘The Sprint Coupé was joined by the Berlina saloon and Spider versions. In 1957 we see for the first time the ultimate Giulietta – the Sprint Speciale – first in the new 101-Series.
‘Built on a slightly shorter wheelbase than the standard Sprint, and again the work of Bertone, the sensuously curved ‘SS’ came with a five-speed gearbox and a top speed of 125mph. The powerful SS was successful across the 1,300cc class racing world.
‘A mere 1,366 had been produced by the time the model was superseded in 1963.
‘So the rare Giulietta that Beverly Hills Car Club has acquired will be highly prized by Alfa Romeo connoisseurs.